Announcing this year's Mendoza Graduate Alumni Award Winners!

Author: Tim Ponisciak

Each year, the Mendoza College of Business recognizes individuals who live out the mission of the College and have been great examples for future Mendoza students. The College is proud to announce five winners for this year's awards. The award winners will be honored at the third annual Mendoza Graduate Alumni Awards Luncheon, on Friday, October 27, the day before the ND-NC State football game. This year's alumni award winners come from the MBA, EMBA and MNA programs.

To join us in honoring the award winners at this year's luncheon, visit the registration site.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus/na who has demonstrated achievement in business and a commitment to the Mendoza College of Business through leadership and service to the graduate business community. This year, we have two winners for this award, EMBA '03 alum, Alan Jolly, and MBA '06 alum, Chris Sinclair.

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Jolly is Vice President at Conduent, a business process services company which is a new company split off from Xerox, with 93,000 employees in more than 40 countries. Alan has remained an active member of the Notre Dame family, serving as President of the ND Club of Indianapolis. Alan has also stayed close to Mendoza since graduating, having served as the Chair of the Mendoza Graduate Alumni Board from 2013 to 2015. "I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this award from Notre Dame.  For me, it is the highest recognition that I have received in my professional career.  It is a wonderful example of how Notre Dame remains committed to its core values and to its alumni family. It will always remind me that hard work and dedication are recognized and valued, which is something that I want my daughters to always remember, even if not recognized by anyone but themselves."

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Sinclair founded The Anthem Group, a collection of companies in the live entertainment, large-scale event production, hospitality and experiential marketing industries. He has led the organization to continued success. Included in The Anthem Group's diverse portfolio, it owns the food and beverage rights to Boston's renowned Esplanade Park and manages several high-profile events, such as the Anthem International Music Festival and the New England Dessert Showcase. Through Chris's leadership, Anthem also runs a program called the Anthem Incubator, helping small businesses achieve success. "Being awarded the Distinguished Alumni award is a tremendous personal and professional honor," stated Chris. "A distinguished alumni award from anywhere is an incredible recognition - but to receive one from Notre Dame is beyond humbling. The award recognizes and is symbolic of everything that I strive for in my career: to do both well and good at the same time, and to contribute to the Notre Dame and Mendoza community that has given me so much."

 

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The Recent Alumni Award recognizes a graduate business alumnus/na who graduated within the past seven years and has demonstrated commitment to the College of Business or to the Mendoza mission of "Ask More of Business" through service to the community. The 2017 winner is Keith Butler, MNA '16. Butler had spent 20 years as a lawyer when his career took a turn towards service oriented organizations. He founded Valliant House, a residential treatment facility serving indigent women. He followed that effort up by founding a home for men who were formerly alcoholics, called the Eagle's Nest. "Winning this award is validation that Our Lady’s University and Mendoza recognize that service to others extends beyond balance sheets. Nonprofits still have to make a profit to have the resources to stay viable to serve those in need," stated Butler. "We still understand P&L statements and must market without large budgets. For me, this award has little to do with any of my past efforts. Rather it serves to motivate me to continue and improve my contributions in both size and scope. It is a call to use my God given talents, experience of a 35 year legal and business career and my financial blessings to better serve my fellow man. Those are not hollow platitudes. We are our brother’s keeper. Notre Dame and Mendoza give that biblical admonition credence through the annual award I’m so blessed to receive."

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The Ask More of Business Award recognizes a graduate business alumnus/na who owns or leads a company that is successful in its industry and also has a specific goal of making a positive impact either on its local commmunity or on the globe. The 2017 winner is Eric Haley MBA '07. 

Haley is the co-founder of Gotham Greens, a company that focuses on urban agriculture by producing premium vegetables out of its greenhouses in Chicago and New York. The company has a strong focus on both sustainability and the local small business economy. "While studying entrepreneurship at Notre Dame, I was able to explore how to incorporate sustainability and renewable resources into multiple business plans," said Haley. "In addition to marketing a “green project,” the actual social and financial impact of incorporating green practices is even more important. Studying entrepreneurship gave me an opportunity to not only to learn how to write business plans, but also how to critically evaluate a strategic plan and the millions of small decisions that build-up to the big picture of starting a company."

 

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The Commitment to Michiana Award recognizes a graduate business alumnus/na who lives in the Michiana area and has made significant contributions to the local community through community service work, civil service work or helping to bring more jobs to this area. The 2017 winner is Aaron Perri EMBA '10. Aaron currently serves as the Executive Director for South Bend Venues, Parks & Arts, and has been integral to the revitalization of Downtown South Bend. Aaron has served as the chair of SB 150, the celebration of the city's 150th anniversary. He previously acted as the Executive Director of Downtown South Bend. "It’s a pleasure to serve South Bend alongside so many talented colleagues, visionary business leaders, generous community partners, and passionate residents," stated Perri. "While it’s an honor to be recognized by my alma mater, a place I profoundly regard, it comes on the shoulders of those individuals collectively."